Search to find munitions in Green Mountain neighborhoods at a standstill

Other neighbors have prevented more searches
Posted at 11:04 PM, Nov 16, 2016
and last updated 2016-11-17 01:04:55-05

LAKEWOOD, Colo. -- The National Guard has been using metal detectors and heavy equipment to search Lakewood yards for old army munitions, but now those efforts are on hold.

"We would like to know what's in the yard," said Green Mountain Estates Homeowner Marian Richards.

Richards and other residents learned the project was on hold during a public meeting Wednesday night where they were told other neighbors are essentially preventing more searches from being conducted.

"We had no idea they had to have that kind of coordination," said Richards.

"The current safety protocols are very stringent and they require a 239 feet radius, exclusion zone," said Warren Smith, a spokesperson with the State Department of Health.

Under the current protocols, up to 28 homes have to be evacuated before they can even start digging.

"If someone chooses not to vacate their property, which is their right, it can stop the work," said Smith.

Which is exactly what has happened. Smith said out of the more than 80 homes who agreed to participate, crews have only been able to search one property.

At the property, they found a four-pound munition fragment buried in an undeveloped area.

"It's not hazardous, this is something that was broken this way on impact," said Smith.

The National Guard also said it's found more than 23,000 anomalies, which has further complicated the project.

"It's just scrap metal, a lot of construction debris," explained Smith.

For these reasons, he said the project is at a standstill until they can come up with a better solution or a way to search yards without being required to evacuate such a large number of nearby residents.

"We have to reassess ways the project is being approached," said Smith.

Green Mountain was used by the National Guard for artillery training during World War II.

Last year, crews uncovered 12 live shells and countless munitions debris within Hayden Park -- which is what lead to the expanded searches in nearby neighborhoods.

"We'd like to know for property value purposes," said Richards. 


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